Mixed Developments For Flyers Prospects Stolarz, LarssonBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Monday, January 7th, 2013
The first is a bit of good news- the Swedish Ice Hockey Association has revised their transfer agreement from the NHL.
Instead of NHL organizations having just two years to evaluate Swedish prospects, they will now have four years.
For the Flyers, that means they have two additional years in which to allow defenseman Fredric Larsson to develop before having to decide whether to sign him to an entry level contract or not.
The 6′-3″ Swede currently plays for the Brynäs J20 SuperElit team- the minor league team for Brynäs of the Elitserien. He has the potential to be a strong defensive defenseman, but ideally he should spend time in the Swedish pros before coming to North America.
While this news helps the Flyers extend their long-term plans, the following news doesn’t.
Goaltender Anthony Stolarz, drafted 45th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has decided to leave the University of Omaha-Nebraska to play for the London Knights of the OHL.
In a news release, UNO men’s hockey head coach Dean Blais stated,
“I’m obviously disappointed by Anthony’s decision. He has been making a very challenging transition from the North American Hockey League to the WCHA and we, as coaches, saw good progress from him in the first half of the season. But ultimately, it’s his decision where he wants to play and we wish him the best in the next chapter of his career.”
Former Flyers goaltending prospect Brad Phillips made a similar decision, leaving the University of Notre Dame for the CHL during his sophomore season.
The Flyers didn’t like it then and they won’t like it now- leaving the NCAA means that they lose signing rights two years quicker.
When the Flyers drafted Stolarz, it was with the knowledge that he would have ample time to hone his raw skills and athleticism into a successful, mature goaltender.
Instead, he appears to be trying to hasten his career. As a freshman at UNO, Stolarz only started in 7 of their 22 games while senior John Faulkner started in the bulk of games, earning an 11-3-1 record. Stolarz did not play well in the season debut while Faulkner has played better since, but that’s to be expected.
With the London Knights, Stolarz will be gaining a paycheck, but he loses his collegiate scholarship.
He also loses his already diminished ice time. The Knights already have two elite goaltenders in Jake Patterson (ranked 3rd in save percentage the OHL) and Kevin Bailie (ranked 6th in save percentage in the OHL).
The Knights have had positive results with their goaltending coaching in recent years, as former Knights goaltender Michael Houser was named CHL goaltender of the year in 2012, so that may also be a factor in his decision.
Neither development will likely cause concern for the Flyers at the moment, as the organization has to first digest all of the various changes in the collective bargaining agreement that affect their immediate, day-to-day activities.
By the time the 2013 NHL Draft hits in June, though, the Flyers will have to consider both factors as they select the next crop of potential players.
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